Letter 3

Rationing During World War II


Rationing in America

One particular substance that was under-stocked yet highly needed in the USA was rubber. Rubber was actually the first non-food item that was rationed out during WW2. Since the Japanese controlled most of the rubber-producing areas in Southeast Asia, this was a problem for America and forced the military to turn to civilians for tires.

As far as food rationing goes, each household member- even babies- was given a coupon book to purchase necessities. Gasoline was also heavily rationed. The lowest priority was given to those with “A” cards- 3-4 gallons per week.


Rationing in Europe

England was bombarded by German attacks at a steady pace, putting them at the forefront of starvation, poverty, and the need for strong rationing. It started with the limited distribution of gasoline and then quickly led to controlled food distribution.

Butter, bacon, sugar, cheese, and other similar staples were rationed out to ensure civilians had a fair and equal chance at snagging one of those coveted goods. Fruit and vegetables were not rationed since they could be easily grown.


Rationing in Asia

Rationing in Asia during WW2 was a little bit different than the rest in terms of intensity. The Japanese people were hit very hard by food shortages, particularly the children. Those who lived in the city were forced to flee to the countryside in hopes of more food- or at least a better ability to grow their own.

However, this idea was more fruitful as a concept rather than reality. Even after the war ended in 1945, the Japanese people were still suffering from hunger, poverty, and limited food supplies.


Rationing in Australia

Interestingly enough, Australia did not face a blunt impact during WW2 as far as rationing goes. Much of Australia was readily equipped to produce its own food, and Queensland residents who lived in the suburbs used the space to grow vegetables, fruits, and even house cattle.

The use of ration coupons was enforced around 1942 as a method to manage food consumption and curb unnecessary spending. A few popular rationed items included tea, sugar, butter, and even clothing.

Want to learn more about rationing? Check out some of these helpful links.